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Queen tries to get UK poverty fund to heat palace

Queen tries to get UK poverty fund to heat palace
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Friday, September 24, 2010 - 2:16pm

LONDON (AP) -- A government fund intended to provide subsidized heating to low-income Britons got some interest from an unexpected source:  Queen Elizabeth II, who wanted help paying the bills at Buckingham Palace.

The official response, according to documents unearthed by The Independent newspaper, was that the handout might prove to be an embarrassment if word got out.  The paper quotes an unnamed functionary as gently reminding the royal household that the money was meant for local authorities, housing associations, and the like.

"I also feel a bit uneasy about the probable adverse press coverage if the Palace were given a grant at the expense of say a hospital," the paper quoted the official as saying.  

The newspaper said royal aides were looking for a way to pay the queen's spiraling utility bills, which had risen by 50 percent to more than 1 million pounds ($1.58 million) in 2004.  A letter written that year and addressed to Britain's culture department asked whether the queen could get a community energy grant.  A Buckingham Palace spokeswoman confirmed that royal officials had explored the possibility of getting money under the program.  

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